The tiny robot, called SORA-Q, is jointly developed by Takara Tomy, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), Sony, and Doshisha University, and designed to be deployed from the Moon Lander to explore the vast Moon surface.
In its compact form, SORA-Q is a sphere and when it is released from the lander, it transforms into a mobile explorer with two halves of the sphere serving as wheels. It is armed with two cameras – one forward and one rear-facing – to record images on the moon and transmit them back to Earth by the main spacecraft.
Unfortunately, it is designed not to return. When it is done with its mission, it will stop and remain on the Moon. Awww. Why do feel sad for this cute little sci-fi guy?
You may not be able to tell but SORA-Q is tiny. Like super tiny and super lightweight. It measures 8 cm (3.15 inches) across and weighs in at a mere 250g (8.8 oz or about 0.6 lbs). To put the size and weight into perspective, it is a little smaller than a baseball and it is a little heavier than an iPhone 13 Pro Max.
Perhaps from the images you do not have a sense of how sci-fi-ish this robot is but reassure that SORA-Q is one of the most – if not the most – sci-fi-ish creations we have seen of late. Don’t believe? Just have a look at its Japanese intro video embedded below: